Head Librarian

  • Job Reference: 00000532-1
  • Date Posted: 12 December 2019
  • Recruiter: Scottish Poetry Library
  • Location: Edinburgh
  • Salary: £27,500
  • Sector: Not for Profit/Charities
  • Job Type: Contract
  • Duration: Until 31st March 2022

Job Description


Job Opportunity: Head Librarian (fixed-term to 31 March 2022)

  • Salary: £27,500 per annum
  • Closing date for expressions of interest: 12 noon, Wednesday, 22 January 2020
  • Interviews date: Monday, 17 February 2020

The Scottish Poetry Library is seeking a motivated and innovative individual to join its small but dedicated team as our Head Librarian to manage and develop our physical and digital collections, and library service staff. The successful candidate will be a professionally qualified librarian. A commitment to providing high-quality customer services to develop a welcoming environment is important. Candidates should be able to demonstrate an affinity for and understanding of the cultural, social and wellbeing benefits brought about by public engagement and participation with poetry and poets.

As part of the Senior Management Team, the successful candidate will be able to help shape how the library service will deliver to the ambitions of our business plan and support our values of being welcoming, being compassionate and transforming lives through poetry.

To apply: Please send your CV with a covering letter to Asif Khan, SPL Director at asif.khan@spl.org.uk

If required, please have permission of your line manager before expressing an interest in the role.

Website: www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk



Job Description

Job Title

Head Librarian

Reports to



Fixed Term (to 31 March 2022) - the end date of our present core funding cycle


£27,500 per annum

Place of Work

Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh EH8 8DT

Hours of Work

37 hours per week

Leave Entitlement

38 days, including 10 public holidays (and up to an additional 3 days over Christmas)


3 per cent employer’s NEST scheme


Role Summary

Responsible for public access to the Library’s Collections and physical and digital services. Management of a staff team to deliver a high quality, customer-focused and welcoming environment. Contributes to the strategic development of library policies as part of the Senior Management Team.


Specific Responsibilities


  1. Manages, develops and promotes the library’s physical and digital collections and archive resources in line with SPL Business Plan, Annual Plan, Collections Management Policy and Digital Strategy.


  2. Leads on the delivery of customer, retail and enquiry services. Line management responsibility for the Assistant Librarian, Library Administrator and Library Services Officer, including appraisals, training and development and performance management (where appropriate).


  3. Manages with the Assistant Librarian the cataloguing and indexing of new acquisitions and special items.


  4. Manages and develops SPL’s Library Management System and associated borrower services.


  5. Manages and develops the SPL’s online resources relating to the collections and borrowers.
  6. Represents the SPL on local, regional and national library networks.


  7. Supervises and develops training opportunities to specialist volunteers (e.g. cataloguers) and placement students.


  8. Works with the Assistant Librarian to programme exhibitions and support group visits and tours.


  9. Any other reasonable duties as required to support the effective and efficient operation of SPL.



Person Specification

Qualifications/Professional Membership


  • Professional qualification in a library/information related subject via various CILIP-approved routes, e.g. MSc. Information and Library Studies, MA Library and Information Services Management.



  • Evidence of Continuing Professional Development, such as participating in ongoing professional networks and working towards one of the following:
  • Chartered membership of CILIP.
  • A management qualification, e.g. Institute of Leadership and Management (Level 2 or above).


  • Experience of working in a library/information environment.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Excellent IT skills and aptitude with experience of Library Management Systems (eg KOHA).
  • Able to work with complex database systems with experience of extracting, and manipulating data to produce reports.
  • Experience of managing/supervising and developing staff – e.g. 1 to 1s, appraisals.
  • Experience of stock budgeting, selection and acquisition.
  • Experience of collections management.
  • Experience of promoting collections, for example through events and exhibition.



  • Knowledge and appreciation of poetry, and the work of Scottish poets in particular.
  • Demonstrates an awareness of the commercial and financial environment of arts organisations.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of excellent customer service.



  • Able to support, guide and encourage others in the team to achieve individual and team objectives. Demonstrates respect for others, fairness, equality, tolerance and openness.
  • Can prioritise own workload to achieve required goals and supports team members to manage tasks efficiently and effectively.
  • Strives to improve efficiency.
  • An openness and commitment to embracing new technology and approaches that will improve the library’s service offer